Poor sleep: Has anyone tried 5-HTP?

I received an e-mail about 5-HTP from an on-line vitamin company which I use. Has anyone tried this for poor sleep? Reading through the information, it mentions not to take it if you have any of various medical conditions including cancer, but further on it specifies undergoing chemotherapy, so maybe that is the only reason. If I was going to try it, I would consult my oncologist first but just wondered if anyone here has any experience of 5-HTP. I Googled it and found this useful link:-

5-htp.org.uk/

Ann x

Hi Ann

I’ve been using it for several years (not all the time) but I always have it in the house. I also recommended it to clients when I was working as a NLP coacf/therapist. I looked into it in detail at the time, I think as a chemical it’s one step away from serotonin. I usually buy it from H&B when it’s on offer.
It can be used for low mood in the day and if used at night it helps with good quality sleep. I always took it away with me when I was on courses in London as I needed to sleep but found sleep difficult in hotels.
There are some good books on it on amazon.

Love
Sue x

Thanks, Sue. I am also interested in it for my son who, like you, has difficulty sleeping when away from home. So, it works for you then? How much do you take and are there any side-effects? Are you on any cancer medication? Sorry for all the questions but I haven’t come across it before and need to know it is safe. I am on Letrozole. Do you think it would be ok for me?

Ann x

Just read your profile, so can see what you are on. Is your onc ok with it?

I am interested in this too as my sleep (once rmy strongest point!) is not so good - hot flushes with Arimidex , post BC increase in my arthritic pain ect.

I don’t find Nytol and similar herbal-type medication any good and obviously want to avoid sleeping pills.

Hi Ann

I take 2x50mg for sleep, best taken without caffine-not because it will do any harm just that the caffine will stop it working so a waste of money.
Side effect too much will make you feel sick-too much serotonin does the same thing. It is used (before meals)as an appetite suppressant by some people trying to loose weight or control cravings.

As I’d always used it, I never checked with anyone about using it-although I did read a lot about it. I did used another amino aid L-Tyrosine and I stopped using it when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I wouldnt use that without checking.

Best check with your onc to be sure but your son could try straight away.

Sue x

Hi Ann

Forgot to say, 5 HTP should not be taken with anxiety or depression meds.
I’ve check on the net and advise it don’t have it on chemo (I did-naughty girl) so check with your onc.

Sue xx

Thanks, Sue. As I say, I am on Letrozole. I have been looking into contra-indications and could only find the chemo one which might be relevant here.

Did you have any side effects, like making you feel sick? Can you take is as a one-off (eg when you stay in a hotel) or does it have to build up and so you have to take it all the time?

topsymo - I think so many of us are the same. Nothing I have tried so far has made any difference.

Ann x

Hi Ann

It works straight away and can be used as I use it for a one off. It didn’t make me feel sick at all.

I remember one night when I very high on adrenaline because I being given a difficult and exciting project to work on (I’d also had a tooth out and had pain) I just could not get to sleep, I got up and took the 5 HTP and although I still didnt sleep (too high)I did relax and all the pain went from the tooth ache. It is know that when serotonin is high pain is less.
If you are having problems sleeping I would take it for a couple of nights and see what happens.

Sue x

That’s great, Sue. Thank you so much for your help.

Ann x

Ann

Good luck, let me know how you get on.

Sue

Has anyone asked their oncologist about 5-HTP?

Sue - Out of interest, why did you say that you wouldn’t use L-Tyrosine without checking with your oncologist but you do use 5-HTP?

Ann

Hi Ann

I read something about L-Tyrosine, I been looking the last few days to find out more. Searching the net this morning I found some people with BC are taking it but I also found this on the Life Extension website:

Cancer patients should avoid taking L-phenylalanine and L-tyrosine. Certain cancers, such as melanoma, depend on these amino acids to fuel their growth.
Supplemental use of L-phenylalanine and L-tyrosine may raise or normalize blood pressure. Insomnia may occur from over-stimulation if taken too close to bedtime. Individuals with the rare metabolic disorder phenylketonuria should avoid phenylalanine. Those suffering from migraine headaches should also avoid L-phenylalanine and L-tyrosine because they form tyramine, a substance that may trigger migraines.

For info -the same website said

5-HTP (L-5-Hydroxytryptophan) is an intermediate in the natural conversion of the essential amino acid, tryptophan, to serotonin. Clinical studies have shown that 5-HTP increases the amount and availability of serotonin produced by the body. Increased brain serotonin levels may produce positive effects on emotional well-being, appetite regulation, melatonin production and maintaining a healthy sleep cycle.*
Source Naturals 5-HTP is naturally derived from the seed of the African plant Griffonia simplicifolia.

Suex

Thanks, Sue. We certainly don’t want to be taking something like L-tyrosine if it keeps us awake!!!

I have ordered some 5-HTP on-line. I might try it out on my husband and son first! It does make me wonder why there are books about it, though. I have also been researching it on-line and some people do have problems with it, but it sounds as if it could be just what I need. Do you find it lifts your mood as well as helping you sleep? That would lift your mood, anyway. I suppose that is one of the reasons it works.

Has anyone else tried it?

Ann x

Hi Ann

The books are mostly about it’s use as a natural anti-depressant. I’ve got two books about it, my favourite one 5-HTP by Michael Murray, it covers it’s uses as natural way to overcome depression, obesity and insomnia. It’s an easy to read informative book, it covers when and how to use it.

I have used it in the past when in a low mood as a mood enhancer and have noticed if lift in 30mins.

I read somewhere that people who take recreational drugs are taking 5-HTP the day after to lift their mood as they come down!

Sue x

Thank you for the info, Sue. You are being so helpful. I do appreciate it.

I was looking at the books and thought the Michael Murray one looked the best. I shall probably order it.

If you take 5-HTP during the day to lift your mood, do you find it makes you drowsy?

When did you first start using it, by the way?

Ann x

Hi Ann

I can’t remember how long I’ve been using it but it must be at least 8years ago. I don’t use it much now but I might use it tonight, it suppose to improve quality of sleep with nice dreams, I’ll let you know.

At night it works with melatonin (which is released at night) Some people on the net do report daytime sleepiness. Micheal Murray reports that daytime sleepiness is very rare due to the need of melatonin. I’ve never noticed it.

In his book he has a whole chapter sleep.

Sue x

I have been looking into this some more and found a hypothesis that 5-HTP may help with hot flushes. It is an American article published in 2005, so I am trying to see if there is any update on this.

findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FDN/is_3_10/ai_n15855229/?tag=content;col1

Ann x